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  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Need help from you Cross types with my first cx frame

    I may even put fenders on it-- cx bike blasphemy!

    I'm about to receive a new cx frame (Curtlo) that I wanted for winter riding, and to beat the tar out of on the numerous fire roads up here that wind all over the mountains.

    No, I do not want to race cx because I don't like to run through freezing mud, bleh. But yes, this bike will get muddy, and wet, and ugly.

    I'm an idiot when it comes to componentry/specifications, esp on a cx frame, which is where I need some help.

    I don't need pretty, complicated, and expensive. I need durable and functional. Love the CK stuff (frame has a CK headset installed) but that there is pretty expensive stuff...still would like to spring for a CK BB.


    BB is English thread 68mm shell width.

    130 mm rear spacing...does this mean I run 130 hubs? Any hubs in particular you guys like?

    Per Doug Curtis, he told me the following:
    The front derailleur required
    >> would be a standard bottom pull type. The cable routing is along the
    >> top tube, but there is a pulley on the back side of the seat tube
    >> that requires a bottom pull style derailleur.
    ^I ashamedly am not sure what he means by how the cable routing/pulley affects the type of deraiileur ... ^

    Also would like to run a compact crankset.

    Any wheel choices you guys like in particular? Personally I'd like to save $ and just run my spare Bontragerxlite road rims/hubs on it if possible (I'm not heavy...so would hope I'm not breaking spokes left and right). Not sure the hubs would take the mud/wet conditions well though. Any thoughts?

    Oh yes, and appropriate brakes for the frame, and conditions I'll be in? (don't want disc brakes though).

    Sm@rt-alecky responses will be welcomed as much as the non sm@rt-alecky ones. I'd also highly appreciate any advice on what not to do/pitfalls to avoid.

    Here's a pic of what should be on my doorstep soon. Doug happened to have this one already built and after a bunch of measurements...it's danged near a perfect fit for me.

    Thanks everybody.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  2. #2
    Iohannes fac totum
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    I'd vote 105/Apex/Rival for components.

    Also, I'd vote for compact crank (maybe 34/48). I have a 48 as a big ring on my CX/dirt road bike, and have never felt undergeared. Heck I use it on hammerfest road rides. I would throw a 11-28 cassette for those long logging roads

    Enjoy it.....dirt roads are fun!!

  3. #3
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    Just a few random thoughts:

    (1) Consider v-brakes with travel agent for slightly stronger stopping power over cantis
    (2) Not sure why not discs (mechanicals) given your desire to ride in tough, winter conditions
    (3) Also look into some mountain bike components, especially rear derailleur that can accomodate a larger cog.
    (4) Consider a slightly more upright bike position relative to what you would use on your road bike.
    (5) Brake hoods usually set up closer (compared to road).
    (6) Avoid carbon anything


    That sweet frame will bring you many miles of cycling enjoyment.

  4. #4
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    Go with the compact crank, make sure you put on the right chainrings so there not too small or to big for the fireroads/MTBing you want to do. Parts wise get stuff you afford to replace. If running 10speed, 105/old Rival level would be fine. Nine speed set up it is your decision to use MTB parts or old road bike parts with proper handle bar that goes with the parts. You should be able to find it on ebay or similar sites. Asking your your friends does help, because they might willing to get rid of some of their old parts. Wheels wise get some with a higher spoke count than a standard road wheelset for durablity, guessing at least 28/28 on spoke count if doing a lot of fireroads/trails. Hopefully get wheels with easy replaceable spokes.

  5. #5
    Game on, b*tches!
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    Along what others have said, I'd opt for a sealed cartridge bb, probaly octalink. More durable and resistant to crap getting in there. Mini V's aren't a bad idea since mud clearance is not a major concern. I'd vote for Rival components; you can go with a 12x28 rear cassette and a compact crank and be able to climb most anything. Sweet bike, btw.
    Originally Posted by tetter
    'Pain is temporary, and there might be beer at the finish line'

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  6. #6
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    This is what he means about the pulley .
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Need help from you Cross types with my first cx frame-aug21_0002.jpg  

  7. #7
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    I ride my CX bike all over the fire roads in NCW also. Most important thing is gearing. Make sure to either get a triple crank, or at very minimum a compact double and use a MTB rear derailleur and a MTB cassette. I see others have recommended a compact and a 11-28 cassette, but the Cascade foothills can be steep as I am sure you already know.

    I have a 50-34 crank, and an 11-34 cassette. Sometimes I wish I had more gears. I have never wished I had fewer.

    Also, get the fatest tires possible. The gravel roads can be a bit harsh on narrower tires.

  8. #8
    25.806975801127
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    Quote Originally Posted by adimiro
    Just a few random thoughts:

    (1) Consider v-brakes with travel agent for slightly stronger stopping power over cantis
    (2) Not sure why not discs (mechanicals) given your desire to ride in tough, winter conditions
    (3) Also look into some mountain bike components, especially rear derailleur that can accomodate a larger cog.
    (4) Consider a slightly more upright bike position relative to what you would use on your road bike.
    (5) Brake hoods usually set up closer (compared to road).
    (6) Avoid carbon anything


    That sweet frame will bring you many miles of cycling enjoyment.
    1) Pulleys create another place for moisture to get in and screw things up. TAs are expensive, too. I'd go with Paul's or SRAM's new cross cantis.

    2) 2 reasons that I can see. The frame (from the picture) doesn't have disc mounts. Also, it has a 130mm rear spacing. There aren't a lot of 130 disc hubs out there.

    3) I agree, somewhat. Apex with the mid-cage rear derailleur would be about perfect, I think.

    4) definitely.

    5) closer = higher?

    6) Agree.
    Other countries need to stop hatin' or we'll unfriend them. - Christine

    Apparently I left my reading comprehension glasses in my ass. - DrRoebuck

    Still, it felt great and I felt like I was sitting on some kind of vibrator -Touch0Gray

  9. #9
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by canascrews
    This is what he means about the pulley .
    what is the advantage of this over just running a top pull derailleur?

  11. #11
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    Eh, that pulley system is odd. Don't know enough about it to make a judgement call.

    I'm reading through all these posts and having you all bounce around ideas/knowledge is a great help to me. Thank you. It's helping me to put some pieces of the puzzle together.

    Kram et al, do I need to consider brake system in choice of tire size? I'd be running around 28-32 I think, depending on season/terrain. Are there brake choices that will not work with larger tire sizes and fenders?

    Again thanks to all who've taken the time to help. Mucho appreciated.

  12. #12
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    Sounds like you have similar aspirations to my winter "cross" riding. If you are going to be doing some prolonged ascents and descents in muddy conditions I'd say slap on a granny gear. Cross tires don't offer great traction, so if you end up having to stand and power up, it ain't happening. Depending on how much fireroad and pavement you see, tire size might be something to consider. I stay between 32-38 because it gets me up and down the hills and I'm still fast enough on the way home.

    Stick with cantis. Figure out how to dial them in, get good pads and you will find getting down muddy switchbacks are more fun then they deserve. Buy some good pads though- Salmon Koolstops are pretty rad. Awesome? Whatever.

    Maybe consider dirt drop bars. The flare is a bit more ergonomic for control and soaking up bumps. I'd say handlebars around saddle height, depending on your flexibility.

  13. #13
    Game on, b*tches!
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldEndicottHiway
    Kram et al, do I need to consider brake system in choice of tire size? I'd be running around 28-32 I think, depending on season/terrain. Are there brake choices that will not work with larger tire sizes and fenders?
    Canti's or mini-v's are designed for lots of clearance and since cross tires in widths of 34c aren't uncommon, you'll be fine with your 28-32's. Not sure about the fender issue tho. May be a question for the commuting/touring forum. Or ask MB1.
    Originally Posted by tetter
    'Pain is temporary, and there might be beer at the finish line'

    "Karma is spread in lots of different ways. You know, like herpes."
    catzilla
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  14. #14
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    A Dura-Ace rear derailleur can work with a 32 large cog. You just change the top pulley wheel to 10 teeth instead of 11.

  15. #15
    25.806975801127
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    Quote Originally Posted by limba
    A Dura-Ace rear derailleur can work with a 32 large cog. You just change the top pulley wheel to 10 teeth instead of 11.
    Why?

    She wants something utilitarian and durable. A Deore or LX MTB derailleur will work just fine for Shimano, or Apex for SRAM.

    Dura Ace is overkill, and actually the complete wrong choice, for a 'cross/commuter.
    Other countries need to stop hatin' or we'll unfriend them. - Christine

    Apparently I left my reading comprehension glasses in my ass. - DrRoebuck

    Still, it felt great and I felt like I was sitting on some kind of vibrator -Touch0Gray

  16. #16
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    I was going to write that the OP probably won't care but someone else might. Someone said to check out mtn.bike derailleurs so they run a big mtn.cassette. You don't need a mtn.derailleur is all I'm saying. I'm sure you can do the same trick with 105 or Ultegra.
    Also as far as durability goes XTR/DA will outlast LX/105 stuff and once it's set up requires less maintenance.
    but you can buy two or three of the cheaper components for the same price as the high end stuff.

  17. #17
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    Thanks guys. This has been more help than you know to get me started.

    When I don't have a clue what I'm doing, having as many details thrown at me all at once, really helps me to start "pulling things out of the air", organizing and visualizing how everything relates or does not relate.

    Much easier on my little pea-brain than pecking my way from point A to point B with point B being some unknown.

    Whew!

  18. #18
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    One other thing to keep in mind while building this commuter, if you have the money it's ok to buy nice stuff. If you go cheap you'll be back in here asking "how do I make my bike lighter?"
    Get nice wheels for sure Ultegra/DT/Mavic would be great.

  19. #19
    Ironbutt
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    Cross/utility/fun bike

    Unless I am mistaken, your Bontranger wheels have sealed cartridge bearings so even if you damage a bearing it wont be difficult or expensive to replace. As I recall you have Campagnolo components on your other bikes; unless you want to try something else I would stick with Campy. You can get a nice Campy 10 speed compact crankset and bottom bracket from any number of the Internet sources or you can wait for one to come up for little on e-bay or Craigs List. For brakes I would suggest a set of low profile cantilever brakes like Pauls Touring Cantilevers; they are strong stoppers and have all of the little bits made of stainless so you wont have rust problems. You can get a Campy 10 speed cassette with a 29 tooth big ring, with a 34 tooth small chainring you wont have any problems on the hills. Mostly just build it up so that you are comfortable on the bike. If its 243 grams heavier than it would be with XYZ components, so be it as long as you are comfortable on the bike and happy with it.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironbutt
    Unless I am mistaken, your Bontranger wheels have sealed cartridge bearings so even if you damage a bearing it won’t be difficult or expensive to replace. As I recall you have Campagnolo components on your other bikes; unless you want to try something else I would stick with Campy. You can get a nice Campy 10 speed compact crankset and bottom bracket from any number of the Internet sources or you can wait for one to come up for little on e-bay or Craigs List. For brakes I would suggest a set of low profile cantilever brakes like Paul’s Touring Cantilevers; they are strong stoppers and have all of the little bits made of stainless so you won’t have rust problems. You can get a Campy 10 speed cassette with a 29 tooth big ring, with a 34 tooth small chainring you won’t have any problems on the hills. Mostly just build it up so that you are comfortable on the bike. If it’s 243 grams heavier than it would be with “XYZ” components, so be it as long as you are comfortable on the bike and happy with it.

    Well, perhaps I'm being a primadonna about my campy stuff...but where I'll be taking this bike is some pretty rough country. It's not going to be a "commuter bike". Yes, it'll be a winter "road training bike" staying mostly on the tarmac but there's salt and grime and slush and sand all over the roads here in winter. Spring, summer, fall it'll be facing rough-ish mountain roads. Not Mt bike "trails"...but ucky, sometimes bumpy, and frequently muddy (in spring).

    The bontragers are good wheels, but the spoke count is 20/24 and they're blades. I'm only 130-something lbs, but still...

    This is how parts-stupid I am...will a campy BB work in an English threaded BB? Never had an English threaded bike so I guess I'd better go research/dig up the info.


    I don't mind thrashing my campy cassette, but then I have to figure out what it's compatible with in terms of FD/crankset, or even if there's an issues there. Argh!

    Edit to add: and along the lines of what Kram said...a sealed BB is probably a good idea. Don't think my campagnolo is? But I know nothing, which is becoming more and more apparent to me. Grrrr.
    Last edited by OldEndicottHiway; 08-22-2010 at 11:57 AM.

  21. #21
    Game on, b*tches!
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    Your Bontragers will be fine. I'd feel OK with them and I weigh a wee bit more than you.
    Originally Posted by tetter
    'Pain is temporary, and there might be beer at the finish line'

    "Karma is spread in lots of different ways. You know, like herpes."
    catzilla
    "I'm an American male. This is pizza. Leave me alone!"
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    ohnoIaintsuckingnomore.blogspot.com



  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldEndicottHiway
    Eh, that pulley system is odd. Don't know enough about it to make a judgement call.

    The pulley system is fairly normal. Works just fine on my bike. Give it a try, allows for the use of any FD.
    Quote Originally Posted by Alex-in-Evanston
    I can't fart on a track bike. I need to coast to let it loose.

  23. #23
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    Thanks all for indulging the cx component newb here. So much is now making sense and "congealing" as I hunt around the webs for this that and the other.

    I knew this frame had the basic specs that I wanted, but all the details and options that go with componentry choices on this type of bike were making my eyeballs go round and round like a cartoon.

    Enjoy your cx seasons everyone!

  24. #24
    Game on, b*tches!
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    Plz poast pics when it's done. kthxby
    Originally Posted by tetter
    'Pain is temporary, and there might be beer at the finish line'

    "Karma is spread in lots of different ways. You know, like herpes."
    catzilla
    "I'm an American male. This is pizza. Leave me alone!"
    Alton Brown
    ohnoIaintsuckingnomore.blogspot.com



  25. #25
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    The reason for the pulley system is to allow a standard road front derailleur to be used with top tube routing of the cable.

    Look at practically any road bike. The derailleur cables run along the bottom of the down tube, under the bottom bracket... then the rear der cable follows the right chain stay, while the front der cable turns upward to pull at the FD from the bottom.

    Well, on a cross bike you really don't want those cables running along the bottom of the down tube or under the BB. They are awfully exposed to all kinds of nasty things there.

    Easy solution... route the cable along the top tube instead. Okay, but ... oops... That means now it's wrong for the typical front derailleur. Possible solution, use a top pull front derailleur. That'll work and some bikes do that. But there aren't many top pull FDs to choose from. So another approach is the pulley seen in the photo, using any of the many standard bottom pull FDs. The cable simply runs down the back of the seat tube and around the pulley.... and "ta-dah" pulls the bottom pull FD from the bottom.

    In fact, a bike with a pulley like that offers the best of both worlds... Usually you can use either top or bottom pull FD on it. If it's a top pull, just route the cable directly to it. If it's a bottom pull, go under the pulley first, then back up to the FD.
    Hey, I'm not going bald... I'm getting more aero.

    2007 Look 565 (Ultegra 6600, Ksyrium Elite); 2005 Felt B2 (2010 Rival/Red, Rolf Prima Vigor); 2009 Look 586 Pro Team (under constr. 2009 Force, Rolf Prima Elan); Trek 7200 (stock stuff); Yokota Yosemite (Deore LX, Wheelsmith, Rock Shox)

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